Lauren Parris Watts

Washington State Supreme Court Issues Decision Strengthening Employee Protections Against Retaliation

Employment

On November 29, 2018, in an 8-1 decision, the Washington State Supreme Court revived a four-year-old retaliation lawsuit brought by a former employee (Dawn Cornwell) against Microsoft. As background, Ms. Cornwell had previously settled a gender-discrimination dispute with Microsoft and as part of that settlement the parties agreed that Ms. Cornwell would no longer report […]


Onik'a Gilliam

Launch of New Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Program

Employment

On January 1, 2019, the new Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFML) will go into effect, beginning with premium collection and requirements for reporting to the Employment Security Department (ESD).  Employees will not be eligible to start using benefits until January 1, 2020. PFML is a vanguard benefits program and is likely to […]


Emma Kazaryan

Former Gates Foundation Employee Awarded $4.9M for Breach of Contract, Promissory Estoppel Claims against Former Employer

Employment

What is a broken promise worth?  For one former Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (“Gates Foundation”) employee, it was worth $4.9 million.  In October, the Washington State Superior Court for King County held that a former technology executive at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was entitled to $4.9 million in lost compensation damages after […]


Karen Kalzer

Washington Human Rights Commission Task Force Publishes Model Procedures and Best Practices

Employment

The Washington Human Rights Commission Task Force published its draft Model Procedures and Best Practices (“Model Procedures”) to address sexual harassment in the workplace today,  November 5.  These draft Model Policies and Procedures can be found at here. Comments on the proposed Model Procedures are being accepted until November 30, 2018 at shpolicycomments@hum.wa.gov.  The proposed […]


Emma Kazaryan

Proper Analysis of Wrongful Discharge Claims in Washington: Lessons from Martin v. Gonzaga

Employment

The Washington State Supreme Court recently clarified the law applicable to wrongful discharge claims in a case called Martin v. Gonzaga, — W.2d —, 425 P.2d 827 (2018). Washington employees are generally employed “at will” meaning, absent an agreement to the contrary, employees and employers can terminate employment at any time and for any reason […]


New Labor Standards for Domestic Workers

Employment

On July 23, 2018, the Seattle City Council voted to approve the Domestic Workers Ordinance (the “Ordinance”), a new labor standards legislation for domestic workers. The Ordinance will guarantee Seattle’s minimum wages, rest breaks and other rights for domestic workers. It will restrict a hiring entity from keeping any domestic worker’s original documents or other […]


Onik'a Gilliam

New Washington Law Limits Discovery of Health Care Information

Employment

Effective today, June 7, is a new law passed by the Washington Legislature that limits discovery of health care information in claims for non-economic damages brought under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), RCW 49.60.  Under the new section, health care information will not be relevant to a claim unless the claimant puts their health […]


Immigration Audits on the Rise

Employment, Immigration

As expected, the Trump Administration continues to increase the number of immigration audits to verity the employment eligibility of employees. The federal government’s “culture of compliance” focuses on employers, with the goal of discouraging unauthorized immigration by limiting employment access to undocumented workers. This May, the Associated Press (“AP”) published an article confirming this sharp […]


Onik'a Gilliam

Court Rules Prior Salary Is Not a Defense Against Equal Pay

Employment

Following the untimely demise only weeks ago of the judge many considered the “liberal lion” of the court, on April 9, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit filed (what is likely) the last opinion authored by Judge Stephen Reinhardt.  The matter of Rizo v. Yovino concerns Aileen Rizo, a female employee […]


Onik'a Gilliam

Sexual Orientation Discrimination is a Form of Sex Discrimination

Employment

On February 26, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a 10-3 decision concluded that the prohibition against sex discrimination established in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, includes sexual orientation.  The case, Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., No. 15-3775, concerns a skydive instructor who alleged he was terminated after […]